Lavender City and The Old Time Courtyard – Tihany

What’s purple, has the most unmistakable scent and can be used as a fragrance and flavour for just about anything you can think of?

Lavender, of course!

Once reserved as the typical smell associated with our grandmothers, lavender has, in recent years, expanded its reach across generations, now being creatively incorporated into tasty treats appealing to the masses, regardless of age.

Many of us seem to have a ‘love it or hate it’ type of relationship with this fragrant plant, but its abundance and versatility has undoubtedly contributed to its rise in popularity and whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay.

I’ll admit that I had absolutely no idea of just how many things were currently being infused with this funky flower, so my recent visit to what I now refer to as ‘Lavender City’ was a huge shock to the system.

Purple Paradise

As it turns out, Hungary is the home of purple paradise, and stumbling across the quaint little village of Tihany, on the northern shore of Lake Balaton which honours this natural beauty to such immense extremes, is something of a ‘WOW’ moment for any visitor to experience.

Lavender beverages in from Tihany with the blurred Lake Balaton and the Tihany Abbey int the background

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the stuff, but co-owner Adri does enjoy entertaining her taste buds with this unique flavour every now and then. So, upon arrival, it wasn’t a surprise to see her tucking into a lavender ice cream and indulging in a lavender-infused coffee.

In Tihany, it’s impossible to miss the sheer number of shops and establishments offering up this resourceful plant in both traditional and creative ways, and whilst the reason for our visit had no relation, we found that it quickly became the focal point of our entire experience.

After a short walk along the main street, I decided to make a conscious note of all the types of lavender products and produce I could see, solely at first glance. So, here is a non-exhaustive list of the types of lavender goodies you can find in this tiny village:

Lavender products in a bar in Tihany, Hungary
  • Lavender fish
  • Lavender honey
  • Lavender beer
  • Lavender brandy
  • Lavender Palinka
  • Lavender cocktails
  • Lavender milkshake
  • Lavender lemonade
  • Lavender oils, soaps and smellies
  • Lavender ice cream
  • Lavender coffee

There are even t-shirts printed with pictures of lavender on them.

I’m really curious to know who in this world adores this plant so much that they would adorn a piece of clothing to honour its existence. No judgement if that person is you, though I would love to hear all about your appreciation of lavender in the comments below or in a personal e-mail. Maybe my opinion can be swayed.

What else you can do in Tihany?

Although Tihany is quite obviously obsessed with its love of purple plants, you don’t have to be an adoring fan to enjoy the quaint atmosphere of this place, and it’s well worth a visit regardless of your relationship to strong fragrances.

My personal recommendation for anyone visiting this sweet little village is to make a b-line for the living-history restaurant known as Régi Idők Udvara Skanzen és Étterem (which translates to ‘the Old Time Courtyard Open Air Museum and Restaurant’), for a truly memorable Hungarian folk culture experience.

This restaurant offers up delicious Magyar specialities in a beautifully age-old setting where each guest is greeted with a step back in time. Inclusive of incredibly talented Hungarian-Gypsy musicians serenading diners with cultural sounds that positively enhance the overall atmosphere of this wondrous establishment.


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